State capital and largest city of Indiana, on the White River, 300 km/186 mi southeast of Chicago; seat of Marion County; population (2000 est) 781,900. Situated in the rich Corn Belt agricultural region, the city is a warehouse, distribution, and convention centre. A number of national firms and institutions have made Indianapolis their headquarters, including the American Legion. Industries include the manufacture of electronic components, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, machinery, plastics, and rubber. Indianapolis became the state capital in 1825 and was incorporated in 1847.
Indianapolis was founded in 1821 and lies at the geographical centre of the state. Its basic layout focuses on the Memorial Circle, upon which four diagonal avenues converge. In 1967 the surrounding Marion County was annexed to the city.
Features include Christ Church Cathedral (1857), built to an English Gothic design and the Circle Theatre (1916), and early movie theatre and the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Museums include the Children's Museum of Indianapolis (1926), which gets more than 1 million visitors a year and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (1989). Indiana State Museum is in the former City Hall. Indianapolis is the site of Marian College (1851), Butler University (1855), the University of Indianapolis (1902), Anderson University (1917), the Christian Theological Seminary (1925), and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (1969). US writers Booth Tarkington and Kurt Vonnegut were born in the city. Benjamin Harrison, 23rd US president, is buried here and his house (1875) is a museum. The city is also the site of the RCA Dome (1984; formerly Hoosier Dome until 1999), a 60,000-seat domed American football stadium and home of the Indianapolis Colts. The city is the venue for the annual Indianapolis 500 car race, first held in 1911. The venue, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is a National Historic Landmark.